GOP Tries Combative Style on Tobacco Tax

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - House Republicans hoped to flex their muscles as an opposition party when they tried to rally votes against Mike Beebe's tobacco tax plan, but they found that their pull can only go so far in a state run by Democrats.

After days of tough talk labeling the Democratic governor as a tax-and-spender pushing a Washington-style bill, House GOP leaders suffered a narrow defeat when Beebe's tax hike gained the 75 votes it needed to pass the House.

But they didn't go down without a fight. The House Republicans who opposed Beebe's plan struck a more combative tone than the Legislature has shown since Beebe took office in 2007 - a tenure that so far had been marked by the governor getting nearly everything he wanted out of his legislative agenda.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)